FORT WORTH, Texas October 17, 2019: Chicken stock plays an active role in many cold-weather and comfort food recipes. Store bought stock is a great time saver and there are all kinds for many types of recipes. On the other hand, homemade stock is much more nutritious, costs a lot less, and tastes a whole lot better too.
Each year this author says she will make homemade stock for autumn recipes. And every year doesn’t get around to it. This year, however, I’ve learned to make stock in my electric pressure cooker. Chefs at my place of employment do it all the time with great results and I learned from them.
Until the advent of the electric pressure cooker, it took anywhere from 8-18 hours to make proper stock – chicken, beef, turkey, fish, vegetable, etc. Most people don’t have that kind of time. And if you have even less than that, this recipe is for you.
Homemade stock will make your favorite soups, stews, Thanksgiving, and holiday recipes taste even better. Don’t forget cold and flu season is upon us too. We’ve always heard how chicken soup helps one recover from illness, and it’s true. A UCLA website has a page dedicated to the science behind this nutritional powerhouse. It’s called, An Inside Scoop on the Science Behind Chicken Soup and the Common Cold. It’s well worth the read.
Homemade stock is much more nutritious, costs a lot less, and tastes a whole lot better too
Today was the day; my very first try making stock. If it turns out well the next batch will be beef stock, then turkey stock, etc. Here is the whole experiment and how it turned out.
Homemade Chicken Stock
One electric pressure cooker – Power Cooker, Instant Pot, Presto, NuWave, etc.
2 large chicken backs-about 3lbs. (you can use a leftover chicken carcass, or a couple of fresh legs and wings as well)
1 large onion, including skin
2 unpeeled carrots
3 stalks celery, leaves included
Thyme – about 5 or 6 stalks
1 bay leaf
If using fresh bones preheat oven to 350˚F. Place carcass and/or wings and legs on shallow baking sheet. You can coat tomato paste on the chicken at this point if you like. It adds additional flavor and color. I did not do that, but it is an option. Roast for 45 minutes, then let cool for about ten minutes. Scrape bits (called “fond”) from bottom of pan. They will go in the stock too.
Chop onion into about 6 pieces, keep skin on. Cut each carrot in half, no need to peel. Slice celery into thirds. Place chicken, fond, and fat into pressure cooker pot. Add vegetables, peppercorns, bay leaf, and thyme. Add water to the fill line.
To add additional taste and color coat chicken with tomato paste
My Power Cooker will only go 30 minutes on the regular cook cycle, so I selected the “stew” button and set the time for 50 minutes. Check the manual for correct button to choose. I set the pot for 50 minutes and it worked very well.
While stock is cooking prepare receptacles for storage. I have Ball™ jars with lids and rings. They were washed in hot soapy water and air dried, wiping any water spots with paper towel.
When time is up, turn pot off. Do not release the pressure. Let it release naturally for about 20 minutes, then release valve. Open lid away from you to avoid steam burns. Use a spider skimmer to fish bones, meat, vegetables, and leaves from pot. Have a strainer and another bowl handy. Pour stock through strainer into bowl (I used an 8-cup measure). Tap strainer on side of sink to remove stock particles. Rinse the outside only of stock pot with cold water to start the cooling process. Chicken stock is ready at this point. However, I filtered it once more putting a piece of cheesecloth in the strainer, then pouring the liquid back into the now-cooler pot. Discard cheesecloth, cooked vegetables, bones, any meat, and leaves.
While stock is cooking prepare receptacles for storage
Fill Dutch oven, or other large bowl with about an inch of ice, add water so ice floats. Place pot into ice water and stir. Keep stirring every five minutes to lower the temperature quickly—about 15 minutes total. It’s very important to do this step. Because the stock is so nutrition-packed, pathogens will start to grow if left out at room temperature to cool. This is a vital step not to be missed. It needs to be just cool enough to not bring down the temperature of the refrigerator or freezer where it will be stored.
Use funnel to pour stock into jars leaving at least an inch of space from the lid. Do not fill to the top. Wipe threads clean, place tops and rings in place. Label and date jar. You can also fill ice cube trays, freeze, then store stock chunks in a freezer bag.
Remember there are no preservatives or salt in the stock. If stored in refrigerator use within a few days. Or store in freezer for up to a year.
*Jars need to thaw overnight in refrigerator then use immediately. Chunks don’t need to be thawed.
The stock has no preservatives or salt
The stock turned out beautiful! (*note top photo) At first, I was afraid it tasted too weak. Then sprinkled a bit of salt in my spoon of stock and Voila! All the flavors of the pot were there. The chicken, aromatics, and herbs all complimented each other. You have to try this.
It may seem like a lot of steps, but you can do other things during the entire cooking process. Once the pressure cooker lid was opened the rest of the process took no more than 30 minutes. Give this a try. You won’t want to go back to store bought stock.
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Asian Kitchen Spider Skimmer/Amazon